Chess Books: Old and New

Brief Reviews by Jonathan Whitcomb

Modern Chess Opening Traps

This is an old chess book, written by William Lombardy, the same grandmaster who coached Bobby Fischer and kept him in the World Championship match (1972) so that Fischer won that title, becoming the first official American World Chess Champion. Modern Chess Opening Traps can be a valuable book for tournament players and chess club competitors, although it is written in the old descriptive notation. This is too advanced for a raw beginner.

Book written by Grandmaster Lombardy


Beat That Kid in Chess

This book for chess beginners, written in 2015, may be the first one written with the new NIP system of chess instruction. Nearly identical positions—that helps the player learn to think tactically, more like a master calculates tactics. The reader need know nothing about the teaching method itself, for it works naturally: under the surface. Similar positions have different tactical potential, allowing the chess student to see exactly what is possible in each setting.

One reader said the following in an Amazon customer review:

We liked that the first chapter in this book was on Checkmate. My daughter has been playing chess since she was four, but she would still struggle with finding checkmate when it was possible for her. As we went through this book, I set up the board according to the diagrams shown, and we worked together on finding checkmate when it was available. I think this provided a good confidence boost for her, and this added confidence helped give her the motivation to want to keep learning and discovering how to spot the sorts of moves that would eventually lead her to a possible checkmate during a game.

Beat That Kid in Chess is not really about competing with a child, for age is actually of little consequence when a beginner plays another novice competitor. The reading level is more for adults and teenagers, although some older elementary school children could benefit. Younger kids may also get a lot from this new chess book, if an adult helps (as noted above).

"Beat That Kid in Chess" by Whitcomb


Think Like a Grandmaster

This old chess book was translated into English in 1971 and was written by Grandmaster Alexander Kotov. This is not for a beginner, but many tournament players may find this book especially helpful in avoiding time trouble by logical calculating of different variation possibilities over the board. The following is taken from page 28:

You simply must not wander to and fro, here and there through the branches, losing time in checking. . . . Better to suffer the consequences of an oversight than suffer from foolish and panicky disorder in analysis.

"Think Like a Grandmaster" chess book


1.e4 vs The Sicilian II

This new chess book is not likely to be very helpful to most beginners, for specific-opening books are generally most useful to tournament players, rather than novices. This publication, written by Parimarjan Negi (a grandmaster from India) has very few descriptions on the Amazon page, as of mid-March, 2016, and not yet any customer review.



New Chess Book for Beginners

‘You may notice that many diagrams are nearly identical, something rarely encountered in most chess books. You need to get used to those small differences that are so important in chess games. How critical can be the smallest difference! This approach can help you to think like a tournament player, in the sense of diving into a chess position as if it had never come up before . . .’

Best New Chess Book for the Beginner

A new chess teaching method, in this new book, sets it apart from all other chess books:  N.I.P.* training for tactics. This natural method develops the mind in seeing the relevant details in positions. It avoids the weakness that can be prevalent in many chess books, in which a tactic can so easily be accidentally associated with some general form of the position. [NIP: nearly-identical positions]

Fifth and Sixth Grade Chess Championship in Utah

The state elementary school chess championship was held at the University of Utah, on Saturday, March 12, 2016, and was directed by Bill Clark, with a number of assistants. The official time control listed for this chess tournament was game-in-30-minutes with no time delay, but it appears that chess clocks were not generally used.

Chess Book for the Raw Beginner

The paperback Beat That Kid in Chess was published by Createspace on September 2, 2015 . . . This book can take you into a level that should help you defeat many beginners, at least sometimes. In other words, you will no longer be a raw beginner and will instead be able to defeat [novice opponents], at least more often than you lose.